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City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) music director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla Is pictured with Stephen Maddock OBE, Chief Executive, CBSO and Bridget Blow CBE, Chair, CBSO.

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra music director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla has received an honorary degree from the University of Birmingham.

The internationally renowned conductor joined six other honorary graduates and more than 5,000 students collecting their degrees this month in the University’s iconic Great Hall.

After receiving her Doctor of Music award from University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood, she said: “Since I joined the CBSO I have hoped to meet the professors and team at the University of Birmingham, so it’s a dream come true to be given this honour today. I’m delighted that I will be Dr Gražinytė-Tyla!”

Mirga was named Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in February 2016. She follows in the footsteps of Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons.

She has electrified audiences as a guest conductor with numerous orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra; the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie; the Danish National Symphony Orchestra; and the Orchestra of the Komische Oper in Berlin.

Mirga was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1986. Her father is a choir conductor, her mother is a pianist and singer, her maternal grandmother was a violinist, her great-uncle was an organist, and her great-aunt was a composer.

Knowing that she wanted to specialise in choral conducting, she chose to study at the University of Music and Fine Arts, Graz in Austria. She graduated with a degree in choral and orchestral conducting in 2007. She studied further at the Music Conservatories in Zurich, Leipzig and Bologna.

For more information, please contact Tony Moran, Acting Head of Communications, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165. 

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.

About the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO)

  • The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is one of the world’s great orchestras, and the flagship of musical life in Birmingham and the Midlands. Based at Birmingham’s spectacular Symphony Hall, the orchestra and its ensembles give over 150 concerts each year in the UK and worldwide, playing a wide range of music including everything from Wagner operas to world premieres, film music and family concerts. With a far-reaching education and community programme, four choruses and a Youth Orchestra, it is involved with every aspect of music making in the Midlands. But at its heart is a team of 90 superb professional musicians, and a 97-year tradition of making the world’s greatest music.
  • The orchestra was founded by future Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1920, and Elgar conducted its inaugural concert. But it was when it discovered the young British conductor Simon Rattle in 1980 that the CBSO became internationally famous, and showed how the arts can help give a new sense of direction to a whole city. Rattle’s successors Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons cemented that global reputation, and continued to build on the CBSO’s distinguished tradition as one of the UK’s leading musical ambassadors. Under the artistic leadership of Osborn Music Director* Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla the CBSO will continue to do what it does best – playing great music for people in Birmingham and beyond. As it approaches its centenary in 2020, the CBSO remains one of the most vibrant cultural organisations in the UK. 

*The position of Music Director is generously supported by John Osborn.